Andigilog has taken a system approach to product design, using superior analog and digital signal processing techniques, resulting in superior overall solutions. Andigilog’s µVolt Technology delivers highly accurate sensor interface products with an extremely low noise floor.
This capability allows for sensor elements with extremely small signal output characteristics to be easily interfaced with a SoC solution that provides a highly accurate, low noise, analog signal path. Andigilog’s technology also provides the capability for the integration of microcontroller or DSP processing elements, to facilitate the implementation of standard or customer specific software solutions.
Beyond performance, the robustness of the architecture has the added advantage of dramatically improving new product development timelines. Andigilog is currently extending the architecture to include an embedded controller with digital signal processing hardware assist which will enable even faster product development, rapid inclusion of new features, and significant performance improvements.
The added dimension of flexible algorithm development significantly leverages the Company’s ability to develop new products for broader applications.
SMART SENSOR SOLUTIONS
Sensors are ubiquitous in today`s society and are utilized in almost every aspect of the economy. Innovation in the manufacturing of sensing elements has driven cost down and sparked an increase in overall demand for sensors and sensor systems. Andigilog is positioned to help make sensor utilization easy through its new line of smart sensor interface products.
Sensing technology requires three components; the actual sensing element itself, signal conditioning (typically amplification, noise filtering, and linearization), and a digital processing device (transition from analog to digital information).
Traditionally, economics have dictated an approach in which sensor signals have been amplified and/or linearized locally and then transmitted via wire to a data acquisition device that filters, digitizes, and further processes the signal.
Today, system designers are looking to cost effectively co-locate conditioning and digital subsystems with sensing elements through the use of highly integrated smart sensor interface devices across multiple applications. Andigilog enables this smart sensor technology by integrating low noise analog signal measurements with complex digital content in a small die size.
Andigilog`s first smart sensor interface solution is the aSC9000 family of products. Core functionality includes:
- Precision Excitation
- Small signal differential measurements
- On board and/or temperature sensing for temperature compensation of transducer
- Programmable alerts and alarms
Andigilog, helping make sensors smart.
Traditionally the thermal management market had focused on fixed-speed fans circulating air through the chassis of a desktop PC. The dramatic increase in power dissipation of the complex VLSI CPU components has created myriad challenges for thermal engineers, with new applications and the rapid proliferation of new form factors, such as laptops, lifestyle PC’s, digital set top boxes, DVR recorders and HDTVs demanding even more sophisticated thermal management solutions.
The increasing penetration of these high performance electronic systems into non-business locations, together with the focus on ergonomics, is fueling the requirements for more sophisticated acoustic management solutions through the use of more intelligent control of the cooling fans. Fundamentally, thermal management system engineers have the challenge of removing more heat from smaller spaces more quietly.
As a result, Thermal Management strategies are becoming differentiators for manufacturers. Traditionally OEMs would use standard fixed speed fans to manage cooling. Today, companies like Dell and HP spend significant resources understanding the thermal characteristics of their systems and developing an appropriate thermal management solution.
Any thermal management system starts with the thermal sensors. Thermal sensors are the devices that monitor temperatures in the system, both in terms of the temperatures of the VLSI devices and the ambient temperatures at different points within the system.
The traditional approach of using a separate thermal diode (whose voltage varies with temperature) connected to a thermal sensor (that translates this voltage into an analog or digital signal) is transitioning to a more integrated architecture, in which the diode is integrated within the sensor, and temperature information is then delivered digitally to the thermal management system.
In the case of VLSI device temperature, the diode is actually integrated onto the substrate of the VLSI device, to provide more accurate readings. Similarly, the trend is towards the integration of the sensor alongside the diode, in which case the VLSI device delivers temperature information directly in digital form to the rest of the system. Interfaces such as PECI have been developed to meet this specific need.
FAN CONTROL AND ACOUSTICS
The biggest single observable impact that thermal management has on the user is the noise generated by the presence of one or more cooling fans. In the ideal situation, fans would be completely eliminated, and users could interact with their systems in blissful silence. Unfortunately, the situation is trending in the opposite direction, with the number of fans per system actually increasing, in response to the higher number of VLSI components in the system (CPU’s, memory, graphics).
So the only option is to control the fans, in a way that creates as little acoustic impact as possible. The historical approach of running cooling fans open loop, without regard to fan speed or performance is now no longer thermally or ergonomically acceptable.
With regard to acoustics, closed-loop control tightly controls fan RPM speed, and noise is proportional to fan RPM speed. Closed-loop control also eliminates fan to fan variation providing acoustic consistency across similar platforms. Besides keeping fan speed as low and consistent as possible, system designers must also address the acoustic challenges that result from abrupt changes in fan speed.
The human ear will notice a sudden fan speed change much more than a gradual change, so features that control the rate of change to the fan speed are often utilized. Closed-loop control also has the capability to control RPM ramp rates, eliminating abrupt RPM fan speed changes during general use. Furthermore, as fans age, cooling performance degrades significantly.
Closed-loop control allows for detection of impending fan bearing failure, dirty fan blades, blocked vents and other reliability issues that plague today’s computing platforms.
ALOGORITHMIC COMPLEXITY AND AUTONOMY
The discussion has, so far, focused on the sensing of the system temperatures, and the closed loop RPM control of one or more fans. The key element that links these two components together is the intelligence that decides when and how to drive each of the fans.
This intelligence - typically described as the fan control algorithm, has historically been implemented in software. Whether it is in the initial BIOS on boot-up or in alternative EPROM configuration code, the algorithm software is loaded into thermal management hardware after power is generated in the system.
The problem with this solution is that software can fail and unless there are some predetermined settings already in place before power is turned on, the CPU and possibly the entire computing system can reach a critical thermal state without protection.
This is the primary reason why the control of the thermal management system is migrating to a dedicated model, with a stand - alone controller that doesn’t depend upon full system boot-up to function correctly.
The combination of Andigilog`s µVolt™ and ThermalEdge™ technologies uniquely positions Andigilog to offer a variety of sensing solutions. Today, Andigilog’s leading-edge intelligent thermal management technology provides the temperature sensing, PWM controlling, and acoustically-sensitive cooling for computing systems. In the near future, Andigilog`s µVolt™Technology will deliver highly accurate sensor interface products with an extremely low noise floor.